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Margate 1 Bishop's Stortford 1 - match report

Lewis Taylor scored one penalty and missed another as Margate were held at home in a dramatic finish to their Vanarama National League South game with Bishop's Stortford.

Margate fell behind in controversial fashion midway through the second half when Stortford top scorer Elliot Buchanan appeared to use his hand before beating keeper Chris Lewington.

A foul on Freddie Ladapo gave Taylor the chance to equalise from the spot with six minutes remaining, but then, after substitute Christian Jolley had been tripped in the box, he missed the chance to win it for Gate when his second penalty of the afternoon kick clipped the top of the bar on its way over.

Lewis Taylor Picture: Don Walker
Lewis Taylor Picture: Don Walker

The draw ended a run of four successive home wins under manager Nikki Bull but the Gate have lost just one of his eight matches in charge. The point moved them up one place to ninth, four points behind fifth-placed Dartford whose game at Gosport was postponed.

Gate made two changes from the side that had won 2-1 at leaders Ebbsfleet last Saturday. Midfielder Matt Johnson, left out against his former club under the terms of a gentleman's agreement when he signed, came back in for Luke Moore while Sam Rents replaced Brett Johnson.

Top scorer Freddie Ladapo started despite speculation that he is being courted by clubs both in the Conference and the Football League.

Stortford came into the game unbeaten in five matches though their last three away games had been draws, and they fired an early warning shot when top scorer Buchanan was just wide from 20 yards on six minutes.

Buchanan threatened again on 19 minutes when he beat the offside trap but not Gate keeper Lewington who beat his shot away at the near post.

By then Gate had lost defender Jake Goodman who limped off after 13 minutes - the result a knock in the opening seconds - to be replaced by Brett Johnson.

Gate did not create their first chance until midway through the half when Lewis Taylor dragged a shot wide after Ladapo had teed him up at the end of a flowing move but soon after they almost broke the deadlock.

Danny Green's free-kick was headed towards goal by Charlie Wassmer but Stortford keeper Ross Fitzsimons - on loan from Bolton - threw himself away to his right to palm the ball around the post.

Green then prodded the ball wide from just inside the box following his own corner and on a swift counter, Taylor crossed to Ladapo, who, went for a backheel and saw his effort go straight at Fitzsimons.

Lewington had to react smartly to claw away a deep cross that had found its way to the far post but Stortford did not really create many openings after Buchanan's two early efforts.

Gate began the second half on the front foot with Danny Green firing into the side netting and Ladapo just failing to get significant contact on Taylor's cross after the midfielder had done superbly to beat two men.

A cross from Gate's Kane Wills then fell to Nathan Green but the ball bobbled as he shaped to shoot and he blazed well over. Danny Green also had a free-kick deflected wide before Stortford broke the deadlock against the run of play on 63 minutes.

A long ball over the top caught the Gate defence out, though Buchanan seemed to bring the ball down using his arm before nonchalantly running on to round Lewington.

Gate's players besieged referee Lee Venamore but he was unmoved and they struggled to create clear-cut chances before the game exploded into life in the final six minutes when Ladapo - who was buffeted all afternoon - was tripped in the box by George Allen and Taylor sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.

Stortford then had defender Allen sent off after he collected a second yellow and in the final minute of normal time Johnny Herd fouled sub Jolley but Taylor fluffed his lines by firing his second penalty over.

It was the first time in his senior career that he had missed a spot kick having scored two in Gate's previous home game against Chelmsford.

Margate: Lewington, Wilson (sub, Moore 78mins), Rents, M Johnson, Wassmer, Goodman (Johnson 13mins), Wills (Jolley 70mins), L Taylor, Ladapo, D Green, N Green; Subs: Hunt, Phipps.

Bishop's Stortford: Fitzsimons, Miller, Herd, Ekim (sub Merrifield 46mins), M'boungou, Allen, Moore, Church, Suarez, Buchanan, Willmott. Subs: Ferrier, Lee, De-Reece Vanderhyde, Lovelock.

Attendance: 723

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